Monday, June 22, 2009

If one of the bad guys takes down your license plate number, what can you do?

I will not list the variety of legal reasons for which you may suddenly wish to change your license plate number. I will, however, list a recent example that involved one of my consulting clients. (Names have been changed.)

David White spent a long evening at the home of Maria Flores, an attractive young Mexican widow who lives in a village nearby. His beige Camry was parked in her driveway.

When the time came to leave, David opened Maria’s front door, snapped on the outside light, and spotted two men at the back of his car. One was holding a flashlight and the other had a pad and pencil in his hand. David yelled and reached into his jacket as if to withdraw a handgun. Both men fled. He called me at sunrise the next morning and asked me what to do.

“I need to use my car today but these guys have got my license plate number!”

"It can't be traced, David." (Following my instructions, it was titled in the name of a New Mexico LLC with a ghost address.)

"But these guys and their pals will be watching for it!"

“I'll meet you down at the licensing bureau when they open,” I said. "You'll get a new plate that shows you contribute to a law enforcement memorial. You’ll pay an extra $40 a year, but you get the plate right away.”

I keep a drawer full of decals and bumper stickers for every occasion, and I selected one before heading out to meet David. His car now has a new license plate with a silhouette of some law enforcement officers on the left side, and also a prominent decal in one corner of the rear window:


(How David arranges to meet with Maria in the future will be up to him. My duties ended with the decal and the plate change.)

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